Courage Under Fire and Brimstone – Nicole Conner: An Inside Ex-Gay Postscript (Episode 5).

Faith & Religion, LGBTI Community, Society & Culture

Episode 5
“You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
[2 Chronicles 20:17] 

Nicole ConnerFor young Christians torn between their faith community and the reality of their same-sex attraction, the ex-gay movement can be highly seductive. For many decades, the movement has claimed that same-sex attraction is a choice or a disorder that is curable through a life of ardent devotion to God, coupled with regular therapy.

12 Months ago, Word For Word aired a special four part series “Inside Ex-Gay: the naked truth”, which highlighted the permanent mental damaged and trail of suicides caused by the ex-gay movement – sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy.

18 months of sensitive negotiations culminate in this much awaited postscript to the Inside Ex-Gay series where Dean Beck speaks with Nicole Conner – wife of Mark Conner, the Pentecostal Senior Minister of the charismatic evangelical CityLife Church, Victoria’s largest church.

CityLife Church has five campuses across Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and according to their web site; it is “home to over 110 nationalities living together in harmony, love and equality.”

Courageously, Nicole discusses her journey towards the acceptance of LGBTI people and speaks out against the homophobia and ex-gay beliefs that are widespread in the evangelical world.  Nicole Conner was a pastor and preacher at the church for 15 years before standing down in 2011.

In March 2015, the Australian Psychological Society released an updated position statement condemning ex-gay therapy in all its forms. In the USA, lawmakers in 18 states including California, New Jersey and Washington DC have passed legislation banning ex-gay therapy to minors.  Several more states are about to follow.

In April 2015, US President Barack Obama called for an end to ‘conversion’ therapy aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

Discussions about similar legislation are escalating across Australia with options including regulation and a dedicated commissioner.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 
[1 John 4:16]

Inside Ex-Gay: the naked truth – was a finalist for the 2014 GLOBE Award for “Protecting our Community”.  JOY 94.9 broadcaster Dean Beck received the gay and lesbian business organisation’s inaugural award for Media Excellence.

If this program causes you any distress or you need to speak with someone, these services are trained to assist:

LifeLine – 24/7 counselling and referral service   T: 13 11 14

Q-Life – counselling / referral service for people from diverse sexuality and gender backgrounds.  T: 1800 184 527 between (5.30pm – 10:30pm)

For resources and more information about the ex-gay movement in Australia, visit http://insideexgay.org/

This program was produced by Dean Beck and Nathan Despott for Joy 94.9, Australia’s first and only LGBTI radio station.